Q. Democracy and good governance are contradictions in terms. Discuss with examples.
Ans: Democracy means popular government and it broadly takes two forms —parliamentary and presidential. These two forms refer to the differences in the distribution of political resources and in the sharing and exercising
of power. It is a government wherein the whole people or a numerous portion of them exercise through deputies, periodically elected by themselves the ultimate controlling power.
But the term Democracy shows contradictions with good governance. The term “governance” has wider meanings than the term government. It embraces governmental institutions as well as the informal, nongovernmental regulatory mechanisms.
Governance, thus, is a network of multiple agencies and organizations than a fixed “government” agency or department. The concepts of governance and good governance were first used by World Bank in 1992.
Good governance would involve role of government only in core, strategic and sovereign functions. This may mean, the government, whose primary business is to govern, should govern the least, leaving man, society institution and all else to govern themselves. This is reflected in privatisation, corporatisation, contracts out etc.
This shows contradiction between good governance and democracy. New patterns of interaction between governments and society can be observed in areas such as social welfare, environmental protection, education and physical planning. These new pattern are apparently aimed at discovering “new possibilities” for governing. It is this search for “new possibilities” that brings out the true meaning of good governance.
Good governance is central to creating and sustaining an environment, which fosters equitable development. It is an essential complement to sound economic policies. Governance stands for establishment, operation and networking of social institutions. Empowerment is a pre-condition of good governance. In today’s complex world of governing, government alone is not capable of coping with myraid problems. A degree of networking with other societal organizations will enhance the capacity of governance in the society as a whole. Governance would bring in transparency, openness, rule of law and human rights observance, which will facilitate strengthening of democracy.
Thus, Good governance has wide coverage area vis-à-vis to Democracy or government.